Shoryaku-ji (the suffix "ji" means Temple) was founded by the Priest Kenshun, a son of Kaneie Fujiwara (the Prime Minister of the day) and was constructed by edict of Emperor Ichijo in 992AD. Upon completion the complex consisted of some 86 buildings - a large Temple, Halls and Pagodas - but, after several fires over the years, all that remain today is the Main Hall, Shoro (Belfry) and Fukujyuin (Guest Palace).
|Bronze image of Yakusi-nyorai.|
Shoryaku-ji is also famous for the Autumn colors that adorn the many trees surrounding the complex (as in the above image) and also has the distinction of being the first place to produce Refined Sake.
Those of you that read my post on the SamaSama Beer Garden (If you didn't, now is your opportunity, it's an excellent piece of literature if I say so myself) will remember this image. It was here, while resting my bike against a signpost, that I noticed the placard advertising the facility. But there was another signpost that also attracted my attention.
Before long I was mapping a circular-course (beginning/ending at the signpost) that would allow me the opportunity to experience some of the great Japanese rural scenery that I like so much, as-well-as some of the local history. I estimated my course to be around 6km long but, what I didn't take into account, was the four deviations I would come-across along the way.
So, without any further-ado, lets go in search of Shoryaku-ji.
As I step-onto the road I get my first glimpse of Shoryaku-ji. Within seconds I begin to get a feeling for what this place must look like in Autumn.
|Stone Buddha Images|
|Shoryaku-ji Head Hall.|
There are not many buildings to see in this location, but, what is here, is well worth the effort to experience.
Now, onto the highlight of my visit to Shoryaku-ji, the Fukujyuin Temple. Designated a "National Cultural Asset" for it's Kyakuden's (Guest Palace) architectural style of the 17th-century, it has the Kokerabkui roof which consists of layered wooden shingles.
|Gate, entrance to|
|One of the|
Painter Eino Kano.
Could you imagine a better view out of your drawing-room? I couldn't. I was able to capture some images on my video camera - Inside Fukujyuin Temple.
Time to put my boots back on and grab my pack and hit-the-road. I was so grateful for the personal attention the priest gave me in showing me parts of the temple not many would get to see (I forgot to ask him about the Refined Sake Shoryaku-ji is famous for. Oh well, another excuse to return).
About 500-meters down the road from Shoryaku-ji, was this collection of statues. The two, in the image on the left, are Nakiwarai Jizo. They stand at the foot of two very-tall trees.
To the left of the jizo statues are a collection of Monk Tomb's. This collection, of which there are two, I found the easiest to photograph. This video will give you a better idea of the area.
The second of my four deviations was just a stones-throw away when my attention was drawn to this Ryobu-torii, a daiwa torii, set in amongst the bush. This type of torii is distinctive for the four square posts that are used to reinforce the pillars. Those of you who have visited, or seen images of the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, will recognize this torii.
An hour later, and with some reluctance, I made my way back down the path to resume my journey. As I entered the village of Takahicho, I happened-upon this very-unusual clock tower.
From here it was a nice, uneventful, one-kilometer walk back to the starting point and from there onto the J・R Obitoke Station and home. This was a great days outing and it has been a pleasure to share my experience with you. I know there is more in this area for me to explore and, who knows what surprises I shall discover.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Priest at Shoryaku-ji for giving me his time to show me around Fukujyuin Temple. Also to the photographers, who's images I have used in this blog. And, last-but-not-least, Tanaka-san for that great bottle of Sake. It was just the tonic for this wary traveler.
This is a link to my "Ride With G・P・S" page. On this link is the course, along with information such as distance & elevation as-well-as points-of-interest and photos.